Engaging Tanzanian youth to achieve SDGs

Wednesday August 14 2019

The youth who have gathered to discuss

The youth who have gathered to discuss Sustainable Development Goals on reduced inequalities. PHOTO I Hellen Nachilongo 

By Hellen Nachilongo @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

According to the United Nations (UN), there are 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10-24—they are the largest generation of youth in history.

Close to 90 per cent of them live in developing countries, where they make up a large proportion of the population. Their numbers are expected to grow—between 2015 and 2030 alone, about 1.9 billion young people are projected to turn 15 years old. Connected to each other like never before, young people want to and already contribute to the resilience of their communities, proposing innovative solutions, driving social progress and inspiring political change. They are also agents of change, mobilizing to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to improve the lives of people and the health of the planet.

WhileTanzania is going through significant changes in economic, social political and environmental frontiers because of technology, some youth are still left out.

Following this, some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in collaboration with Mulika Tanzania are engaging youth to present various complex problems that require strategic investments in education, health, economic reforms and good governance.

Mulika Tanzania, is an organization that strives to put young people and the marginalized community at the centre of development and decision-making processes.

More than 50 youth representative from Zanzibar and the mainland met to discuss Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and identified the need to improve quality education in order to resolve the matters affecting them.

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The youth discussion was aimed to address the SDGs on reduced inequalities, peace justice and strong institutions, decent work and growth to enable the government represent them.

Mulika Tanzania Chief Executive Officer Mr Hussein Melele said the youth need to be represented at high level political forums on sustainable development.

“Through Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), we submitted the report to the government so that our SDGs could be presented,” he said.

According to him, the selection of SDGs ensured zonal, regional representation to ensure all voices of young people are well captured during the discussion.

Mr Melele stressed that SGDs are the strategic issues for the development of the country therefore, it was important to focus on the youth accordingly since nothing about the younger generation can be discussed without their input.

“Nothing about us, without us!”

These early experiences of youth engagement with the SDGs demonstrate that youth leadership and commitment make a big difference.

The challenge now is to do even better. To meet the vision of the 2030 Agenda, all youth must be engaged and empowered. Much more space is needed for young people at the local, national, regional and global levels.

Mr Bakari Mbungi, who represented his fellow youth from Iringa explained that the focus would be to encourage youth on the importance of promoting SDGs and how they could help in achieveing the same.

Apart from that, he said the only way to achieve SDGs agenda by 2030 was to ensure the private sector, NGOs and government collaborate with youth on several issues such as ICT.

Through, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Mr Philip Mpango, the government recently reviewed all 17 goals at the forum which was held between 9-15 July in the US.

Mr Mpango said the government is making progress in implementing the internationally agreed commitment on sustainable development.

“Tanzania has endorsed Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs and the objective are in to emphasis on inclusive development, which entails equitable participation in the growth process and sharing of benefits from that growth on the principle of “Leave No One Behind,” he said.

A baseline report for the goals was prepared in 2016 in order to benchmark the status at the onset of SDGs’ implementation. A data visualization and dissemination portal has been developed to facilitate the dissemination of the goals.Restless Development Tanzania, assistant project coordinator Ms Vivian Ngowi, said during the meeting they were put in the working groups based on their focused works on targeted SDGs. They were also provided with the key questions as to guide their engagements during the dialogue.

Disability foundation, executive director Ms Sophia Mbeyela said early experiences of youth engagement with the SDGs demonstrate that youth leadership and commitment make a big difference.

The challenge now is to do even better. To meet the vision of the 2030 Agenda, all youth must be engaged and empowered. Much more space is needed for young people at the local, national, regional and global levels.

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